This tax holiday is also an opportunity for public-health officials to try and reach children without health insurance. They’ve set up booths at shopping malls and WalMarts around Iowa today, where Public Health Coordinator Sonni Vierling says they’ll meet parents shopping for back-to-school and help them figure out if they qualify for the state’s “Hawk-I” program that gives coverage based on their income.For example, a family of four living on 35-thousand dollars a year or less would pay no more than 20 dollars a month for health coverage. Vierling says the state has been aggressively recruiting families for the Hawk-I program because having regular access to a doctor improves a kid’s chances in life. The kids are closer to success because asthma, ear infections and vision problems strongly affect their schoolwork, and kids with no coverage are absent more often. Vierling says it’s easy to see how coverage helps kids and also saves money even for families that do have health insurance.A family without insurance is much more likely to wait till they need to visit an emergency room, and those trips cost all health-care consumers, so this saves everyone a lot. Vierling says signup booths at the stores today will help parents figure out whether they’re eligible for the Hawk-I program or even Medicaid.
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